Culinary Basics: Getting Started

If you’re just starting out or just now starting to hone in on your BBQ craft, there are several techniques you need to know to perfect your Cooking. Here are the 6 Culinary Basic Flavorization Methods.

Brine

A Brine is a common agent in food processing and cooking. Brining is used to preserve or season the food. Brining can be applied to vegetables, cheeses and fruit in a process known as pickling. Meat and fish are typically steeped in brine for shorter periods of time, as a form of marination, enhancing its tenderness and flavor, or to enhance shelf period. Most common brines include a mixture of salt to water. Apple juice, herbs or any flavored liquid you can imagine. Excluding vinegar and citrus (which can cook your protein – see marinade).

Rub

A rub is a mixture of ground spices that is made for the purpose of being rubbed on raw food before the food is cooked. The spice rub forms a coat on the food. The food can be marinated in the spice rub for some time for the flavors to incorporate into the food or it can be cooked immediately after it is coated in the rub. The spice rub can be left on or partially removed before cooking.Spice rubs are mainly used for preparing meats and fish. There are many different recipes for rubs and most of them are targeted towards a specific kind of food. The exact combination of spices that makes a good rub for a particular kind of food varies from region to region and culture to culture.The ingredients themselves vary from region to region as well, and the quality does vary from source to source. Cooking with rubs is almost always done using the dry heat method of cooking where almost no water based liquid is used in cooking. The most popular cooking method for food prepared using a spice rub is grilling. Baking and pan roasting are other dry-heat methods. Sautéing is another method, especially if the spice rub includes flour or bread crumbs.

Marinade

Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origin of the word alludes to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the ‘marinade’, can be either acidic (made with ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, or wine) or enzymatic (made with ingredients such as pineapple, papaya or ginger). In addition to these ingredients, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items. It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat. The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines.

Finishing Sauce

In cooking, a sauce is a liquid, cream, or semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsa, meaning salted. Possibly the oldest recorded European sauce is garum, the fish sauce used by the Ancient Greeks; while doubanjiang, the Chinese soy bean paste is mentioned in Rites of Zhou in 3rd century BC. Sauces need a liquid component, but some sauces (for example, pico de gallo salsa or chutney) may contain more solid components than liquid. Sauces are an essential element in cuisines all over the world. Sauces may be used for sweet or savory dishes. They may be prepared and served cold, like mayonnaise, prepared cold but served lukewarm like pesto, cooked and served warm like bechamel or cooked and served cold like apple sauce. Sauces may be freshly prepared by the cook, especially in restaurants, but today many sauces are sold premade and packaged like Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, HP Sauce, soy sauce or ketchup. Sauces for salad are called salad dressing. Sauce made by deglazing a pan are called pan sauces.

Glaze

A glaze in cooking is a coating of a glossy, often sweet, sometimes savoury, substance applied to food typically by dipping, dripping, or with a brush. Egg whites and basic icings are both used as glazes. They often incorporate butter, sugar, milk,[1] and certain oils.[2] For example, doughnut glaze is made from a simple mixture of powdered or confectioner’s sugar and water that the doughnuts are dipped in, or some pastry doughs have a brushed on coating of egg whites. Glazes can also be made from fruit or fruit juice along with other ingredients and are often applied to pastries. Recently, a type of glazed cake known as an entremet, has gained worldwide popularity after a Russian confectioner’s Instagram page went viral in 2016. In contrast to frosted cakes, these pastries use “mirror glaze,” which is so glossy objects reflect on the surface. A type of savory glaze can be made from reduced stock that is put on meat or vegetables. Some candies or confections may be coated in edible wax glazes. Glazed ham is a ham dish prepared using a glaze and most common in BBQ, a Sauce (tangy or sweet) is cooked on to create a Glaze.

Dipping Sauce

A dip or dipping sauce is a common condiment for many types of food. Dips are used to add flavor or texture to a food, such as pita bread, dumplings, crackers, cut-up raw vegetables, fruits, seafood, cubed pieces of meat and cheese, potato chips, tortilla chips, and falafel. Unlike other sauces, instead of applying the sauce to the food, the food is typically put, dipped, or added into the dipping sauce (hence the name). Dips are commonly used for finger foods, appetizers, and other easily held foods. Thick dips based on sour cream, crème fraîche, milk, yogurt, mayonnaise, soft cheese, or beans are a staple of American hors d’oeuvres and are thinner than spreads which can be thinned to make dips. Alton Brown suggests that a dip is defined based on its ability to “maintain contact with its transport mechanism over three feet of white carpet”. Dips in various forms are eaten all over the world and people have been using sauces for dipping for thousands of years.

So, now that you have an understanding of the basic seasoning and sauce techniques. How do you apply that to your Barbecueing? Well, start with only one or two methods. Cooking and Grilling work the same way. Think about your basic flavor, then add layers to it with various methods. Most Pitmaster Cooks start with a simple brine for one day or overnight. Then they tap their protein dry and add a rub. Once the meat is finished either they will Glaze or Offer a Dipping Sauce on the side. But hey, everyone has their own tastes and you have to start somewhere, so start testing things out until you find and develop your own tastes and recipes! But do not over do it. Remember, the Flavor you get from your Charcoal and/or Smoke and choose ingredients that will compliment it.



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